posttrib
SPOTTY 
Weather Updates

Few answers about Gary redevelopment director’s status; city remains mum

Updated: February 15, 2013 10:37PM



GARY — Calling it a personnel matter, a city official has declined to comment on reports attorney and Redevelopment Director Valda Staton has been fired.

Also, in an emailed response to questions, Communications Director Chelsea Whittington said former Deputy Mayor Delvert Cole has resigned from two committees, as chairman of the Redevelopment Commission and president of the three-member Board of Public Works and Safety, due to a conflict of interest with his duties as head of the Gary Housing Authority.

Whittington offered no other information about Cole or Staton, including who will take over leadership of the commission and department in their absences.

Neither Cole nor Staton returned calls seeking comment.

Sources said Staton was removed from her post Feb. 7. Employees in the department described Staton’s status as “unknown” and deferred questions to Chief of Staff B.R. Lane.

Questions about Staton’s status began after another unexplained leave of absence. Last fall, city officials would say only Staton was on vacation when asked about reports she had been suspended.

As redevelopment director, Staton’s roles included demolishing abandoned structures and using federal money for neighborhood improvements.

Cole, a former assistant to the Lake County Board of Commissioners, campaigned vigorously for Karen Freeman-Wilson in her successful 2011 mayoral campaign.

Freeman-Wilson named Cole second-in-command, but last summer, Cole was moved to the GHA top spot. Cole maintained his position as head of the Board of Works until Wednesday.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.